ST. PAUL -- Sen. Dean Johnson, a colonel in the Minnesota National Guard, prepared Friday for President Bush's activation of up to 50,000 members of the Guard and Reserve in the wake of Tuesday's terrorist attacks.
"I think the actual call-up could be issued yet this weekend," Johnson said. "It could be a fairly rapid call-up -- 10 days to two weeks. It could happen very fast."
Johnson, also the state Guard chaplain and a Lutheran pastor in Willmar, said he likely wouldn't be called up because he'll be needed here to help support people who have members of the family activated.
But, he added, no one is exempt and chaplains have been called into active duty before.
"When you wear the uniform in the time like this, you belong to the commander in chief," he said.
Johnson's son is a pilot in the Air Force, stationed in Oklahoma.
"They're on high alert," he said. "They're practically five minutes away from takeoff and could go anywhere in the world."
He's proud of his 31-year-old son, who also served in the Persian Gulf War and Kosovo, but acknowledged he had reservations.
"Your emotions are mixed. At times like this, you don't know."
But the "tremendous support" from Americans over the last few days will make it easier for the men and women called into combat, he said.
"The flags are flying all across Willmar. The support of the American public is essential at a time like this. You feel people coming together."
And war is the only answer to the situation, he said, adding "We're past negotiations."
Johnson expects the battle to be long and difficult.
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